Being a home owner means being familiar with the systems of your home. As summer approaches, the air conditioner is one such system that becomes important to the home owner to provide comfort during extreme heat in the summer.
Most home comfort systems are comprised of two parts: the indoor unit, which includes the furnace and/or an air handler, and the outdoor unit. The outdoor unit is responsible for cooling the air before it sends the cooled air to the indoor unit. The indoor unit then circulates the cooled air throughout your home. These indoor and outdoor units are designed so that they work together. Match this with an appropriate furnace or air handler and the result is a system that provides maximum efficiency as well as an extended system life.
Below are listed the major parts of an air conditioning system:
This is the electric pump, (or heart of the system), that circulates refrigerant in a closed loop going between the condenser and the evaporator coils. Compressors are available in several varieties.
Condenser coil (outdoors):
This is a network of tubes which is filled with refrigerant. They remove heat from the heated gas refrigerant. Then they convert the refrigerant into a liquid form. Any excess heat will escape to the air outdoors.
The function of the fan is to pull air in through the condenser coil so that heat can be dispersed.
Evaporator coil (indoors):
This is also a network of tubes (like the condenser coil) that is filled with refrigerant. Its job is to remove heat and moisture from the air while the refrigerant evaporates back into a gas.
Air handling unit (indoors):
This includes the blower and the related portion of the AC system which moves the air through the ducts.
Air filters (indoors):
The job of the air filter elements is to trap dust, pollen, and other such airborne particles. Air filters are important because they impact both the reliability of the AC system and the health of the air in the home.
Drainage system and pan (indoors):
The normal condensation process of an air conditioner will produce a significant amount of water. This is a by-product of the operation of the AC system. A central A/C unit has a system of pipes whose function is to carry the condensed water to the outside of the home or building.
Occasionally this piping requires flushing which will prevent it from getting clogged with possible algae or other particles. This type of maintenance should be done by your service company every time you have your yearly system tune-up. The inside portion of your air conditioning system should have an emergency drain pan. This is used in case the main drain lines become blocked. The pan includes an automatic cut-off switch which will turn off the AC system if the pan fills with water. Without this function water will run out of the pan and onto your ceiling or cause damage to what may be below it.